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How to start with document management software

Getting started is straightforward – just follow three simple steps. As you work your way through these steps, be aware of the 7 essential document management best practices.

Below are the three major steps for starting with document management software. For a successful implementation, follow the 7 essential document management best practices.


Identify the right workflows

Digital document management is best suited for document-centric workflows in the three business areas already identified: finance, sales and marketing, and HR. These are workflows that typically require employees to transition from time-consuming manual workflows to productive automated ones.

To help you identify these areas, start with the common ones that typically yield substantial productivity gains: Invoice processing, employee onboarding, and contract management.


Pinpoint integration points

Integration is a core value proposition of any DMS. Once you’ve defined your workflows, find the integration points. Below are examples of integration points within those three common workflows:

track and archive invoices with document management software

Invoice approval

Integration with an accounting or ERP system is mandatory to ensure the flow of documents aligns with your financial records. This might be QuickBooks for a smaller business, or Microsoft Dynamics for a larger organization.

digitize employee records with document management software

Employee onboarding

Human resources teams often use an HCM app like PeopleSoft to manage employee information and use office automation to ensure that documents in that app are captured, routed, signed, completed, approved and stored with appropriate privacy settings.

contract management is better with document management software

Contract management

The most important integration might be the tools that legal and procurement teams live by: Microsoft Office and Microsoft Outlook. Tying documents into structured workflow while supporting strong security and version control is critical to the success of contract management teams.


Evaluate and choose a vendor

The final step is to find a partner that is a good fit for your organization. An excellent place to start finding vendors is to:

Then, once you have a list of the vendors, ask yourself the following six questions to narrow down that list.

1. How complete is the cloud offering?

The market is saturated with many providers who have built their products on old technology. These same providers will insist they offer cloud services when, in fact, they don’t — or at best have a very limited offering.

Make sure your provider actually offers a system that is cloud-based and provides important features such as document management, workflow management, and the ability to easily store, index and access files from any device.

2. How easy is it to use?

The successful adoption and implementation of a DMS system depends on employee buy-in. This means you need to find a system that’s straightforward and intuitive — one employees will actually use.

3. Is the infrastructure globally available?

Select systems that are globally available, faster, redundant, reliable, easily scalable, and perform better. Avoid systems that offer services through localized data centers as the won’t provide the same benefits.

4. Do they prioritize security and privacy?

Your data needs to be secure so you meet compliance mandates and protect your businesses and clients’ interests. This means providers must have data separation and encryption to protect your data. Do not partner with a provider that compromises on security and privacy.

5. Is integration with other applications straightforward?

As we mentioned integration is crucial for improved operational efficiency. More importantly, integration should be seamless and effortless. Avoid partners, where integration is a painstaking process that requires professional help. This will only cost you more money.


Resources for starting in document management